Cinnamon Baked Apples—The Healthy Dessert Your January Needs

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January might mean the end of cookie szn (for awhile), but I for one always have room for an after-dinner bite that satisfies my cravings for something sweet. And since my kids definitely feel the same, I’ve built up a collection of a few favorite healthy desserts that taste like a treat without sending our blood sugar skyrocketing. On the list? Fresh strawberries with a dollop of whipped cream, a handful of mixed nuts and dark chocolate, and most often lately: this incredibly easy cinnamon baked apples recipe. It’s a one-bowl recipe that’s exactly the warm, cozy, and actually healthy dessert we all need in our lives right now.

Why you’ll love these cinnamon baked apples

This is such a simple recipe to have in your back pocket. Here are just a few of my favorite things about it:

Tender and delicious.

As the apples bake slowly in the oven, they release their natural sweetness, making each bite perfectly tender.

Caramelized sauce.

The honey, brown sugar, spices, and liquid from the apples caramelize to create a flavor-packed sauce, effortlessly.

Naturally grain-free and gluten-free dessert.

This means almost everyone can indulge.

How to make the best cinnamon baked apples

A handful of ingredients and a baking dish are all you need to make this easy recipe. Here’s the simple step-by-step:

  • Start by coring your apples, then slice thinly. Many recipes say to peel the apples first, but I say do yourself a favor and skip it. The peel becomes super tender and sweet in the oven (and it adds some extra nutritional value.)
  • Add to your baking dish, then top with lemon juice, water, sugar, honey, cinnamon, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine the mixture, then scatter your butter pieces over the top.
  • Tent with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes uncovered.

That’s it—seriously!

What to serve with cinnamon baked apples

I love how versatile this recipe is—you can keep it simple and eat the baked apples on their own, or you can dress it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. They even make an amazing fall or winter breakfast. Try serving them over yogurt or oatmeal, or top the baked apples with a sprinkle of toasted walnuts, almonds, or a handful of granola. These would also be pretty amazing on French toast with a drizzle of maple syrup—just sayin’.

Tips for success

This recipe really doesn’t get easier, but I learned a few keys to success during my recipe testing.

Choose the right apples

What apples should you use for baked apples? Many different apple varieties will work, both tart and sweet. Granny Smith or Golden Delicious are always a solid choice for baking, and I used Honeycrisp here with great results. As a rule, the best apples for baking are crisp, firm, and can stand up to heat without getting mushy.

Watch your baking time

The first time I tested these, I actually didn’t bake them long enough, and my apple slices were a bit too firm and hadn’t fully released their natural sweetness. You’ll want to test a couple slices before taking them out of the oven—if they’re fully tender but still holding their shape, you’ll know they’re ready.

How to store and reheat.

This recipe is a perfect make-ahead dessert. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. I made a batch of baked cinnamon apples in advance of a recent dinner party, and just before serving, I popped them in the oven for about 10 minutes until hot, and they tasted every bit as fresh as the day I made them. You can also reheat in the microwave on 50% power.

More delicious apple recipes you’ll love

My Best Apple Walnut Salad

Brown Butter Bourbon Apple Crisp

Easier-Than-Pie Warm Apple Tart

Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal

Scroll on for the step-by-step instructions, and if you make these cinnamon baked apples, be sure to leave a rating and review.

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